Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta and Goldikova
Posted by Brian Appleton on May 25, 2010
Racings two leading ladies Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta tore up the track on Monday while both working toward their next prospective starts.
Rachel Alexandra displayed her usual brilliance while posting a five furlong work at Churchill Downs which seemed
to please trainer Steve Asmussen greatly. She finished the work in a time of 1:00 2/5, resulting in the second fastest time of 14 horses at the distance. She galloped out six furlongs in the very good time of 1:12.80 and seven furlongs in 1:26. Asmussen said she galloped out super and looked great while again declining to comment on a next start for the reining Horse of the Year. Instead he said that “All options are open.” Rachel Alexandra has finished second in both of her 2010 starts this year and while they have been very close races resulting in a loss by a neck and a nose, the performances seem to be a level below her spectacular races of last year.
The undefeated super-mare Zenyatta worked a sparkling six furlongs in 1:13.00 at Hollywood Park Monday in preparation for her third yearly consecutive start in the Vanity Handicap on June 13th. So far this year she has maintained her perfect record by first winning the Santa Margarita Handicap in March and then taking the April 9th Apple Blossom by more than 4 lengths in Arkansas. Both wins were completed by the big mare, who has earned a reputation of capturing her races against all competition, with consummate ease.
She will be going for a third consecutive win in the Vanity after having captured the 2008 and 2009 editions. Her undefeated record currently stands at 16-for-16 tying her with such greats as Citation and Cigar. If she wins the
Vanity Handicap she will extend her spectacular winning streak to 17-in-a-row and remain undefeated.
She will once again be facing fillies and mares that will be totally outclassed and far less accomplished than her. Although there were other more intriguing and challenging races in which Zenyatta could have run her connections have again decided to keep her in California even though they tentatively stated earlier in the year that she would be making her rounds on the country’s premier dirt tracks and hinted that she would be facing males much more often. While I love to watch Zenyatta run, we have all seen her in the Vanity before and it’s the same old scenario again; a race in her home-state on synthetics, against sub-par competition all fillies and mares.
Why can’t the Mosses and John Shirreffs see the benefit of giving her a challenge while at the same time putting on a spectacle for the fans. She beat the best boys the world had to offer in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last fall so what’s the excuse? How about the lame excuse trainer John Shirreffs offered up when he said that it’s different for them to ship seeing as they have to go over the Rockies. They should at least tell the public the truth and not make up some cheesy excuse like that, the fans aren’t stupid. We know they just want to keep her in her comfort zone now that Rachel Alexandra is win-less in both her 2010 starts. It was wonderful of the Mosses to bring Zenyatta back for a 2010 campaign but what happened to wanting to share Zenyatta with all her fans like the ones on the East Coast? It’s time to stop treating Zenyatta like a fragile antique china doll and race her, take her out of her comfort zone already and lets watch the action. I have no doubts the big mare can handle whatever comes her way at this point, she is big, powerful and incredibly gifted. The Mosses are doing far more damage to her reputation by running her in the Vanity than if they ran her in a race like the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs.
Here’s what I want to see from Zenyatta and her connections this year: 1) at least two starts against males before the Breeders’ Cup, because honestly there isn’t another mare in this country that can run with her right now, 2) all remaining starts on the dirt, we know she can handle synthetics, she can dance the tango on synthetics while winning a Grade 1 race for crying out loud, 3) a start on a track where the surface is listed something other than fast or dry, a true champion runs no matter the odds, they don’t pick and chose according to the forecast.
Zenyatta is one of the greatest race mares ever to set hoof on a track, I think she should have the chance to prove it.
The astonishing European and American champion mare Goldikova got her 2010 campaign off to a rousing start in
the Prix d’Ispahan (Fr-I) in France on May 23rd. After making a stunning move approaching the wire to seize the lead and open up, the brilliant mare held on to win by a half-length. The two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile looks like she is in tip-top shape and entering another year of racing in her best form yet. The ultimate goal for Goldikova this year will once again be the Breeders’ Cup Mile and an attempt at an unprecedented 3 consecutive Breeders’ Cup Mile victories. Her year is off to a remarkable start and if she wins the Breeders’ Cup Mile again this year it will be a Breeders’ Cup achievement unequaled by any.